If we were to tell you to stream a 12-year-old movie with a terrible 37% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, you'd probably give that one a swerve. But something is making people flock to In Time on Netflix.
This week, the sci-fi-thriller-action film is the third most-watched movie on the best streaming service, despite a load of new Netflix movies being added to the platform this month. What's going on? The short answer: social media. The slightly longer answer: social media, again.
Why is everybody streaming In Time this time?
In Time stars Justin Timberlake as Will, a man who doesn't have much time left in a world where "time is money and the wealthy can live forever". When he saves another man from the time thieves, he receives a valuable time gift that soon attracts the attention of the authorities.
It sounds terrible, and many reviewers at the time said so. NME slammed its "shoddy dialogue, appalling acting and muddling of tone". The Atlantic said "it feels like it's been stolen from a forgotten Star Trek script" and the East Bay Express said that "nobody should waste a minute of their life on this baloney".
So why are people wasting ten million four hundred thousand hours on it – and counting – on Netflix? It's all TikTok's fault. People are urging one another to watch old and often obscure movies, and some of the accounts sharing In Time have racked up tens of thousands of views of their clips from the movie.
This isn't the first time this has happened. Late last year, fans on YouTube were claiming that the film had been "criminally underrated" and it briefly went viral as it became the subject of multiple "people are talking about..." articles. It's since been the subject of multiple "people think this move perfectly predicted the world we live in today" articles on sites such as Unilad, which also recommends Sylvester Stallone's Demolition Man for the same reasons.
Should you watch it? In all honesty it's hardly going to be in anybody's list of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix. And it might not be the best movie Justin Timberlake has been in – after all, he's in Trolls and Trolls World Tour. But it's a fun enough ride, even if it probably isn't any more significant than his I'm Lovin' It song for McDonalds. Sometimes you just really fancy a cheeseburger, and In Time appears to be a cheeseburger of a movie.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.